Experiencing a weight loss plateau can be pretty demotivating. Many people find that the weight comes off relatively easily to begin with, but over time the rate of weight loss can slow down or stop altogether. For some, this is a big enough barrier for them to stop trying and revert back to their old bad habits. It’s often part of the reason that people yo-yo diet instead of sticking with a weight loss plan consistently. But that doesn’t have to be the case and there are practical methods for addressing it. In this article, we look at why people experience a weight loss plateau, along with 9 simple ways to break through it.
What is a weight loss plateau & why does it happen?
A weight loss plateau is where you stop losing weight despite eating healthily and exercising regularly. It can feel like you’re not getting the results you want even though you’re doing everything right. But it’s also something that most people experience at some point in their weight loss journey and is a perfectly normal part of the process.
Plateaus usually occur when your body adapts to your new lifestyle. This can happen at any point but tends to be in the first few months of changing your habits. Once your body becomes accustomed to your new diet and exercise regime, you’ll find that weight loss seems to tail off.
A weight loss plateau is usually caused by a combination of factors. The first is that your body will stop dropping ‘water weight’. If you create a calorie deficit by eating less and moving more, then the body will use up its carbohydrate reserves first. Carbohydrate is bound to four times its weight in water in order to be stored, so this all gets released as it’s burned off. This is one of the reasons that weight loss can seem rapid at first then slow down after a while.
The second factor is that losing weight means your body needs fewer calories, but many people don’t account for this. As your body mass decreases, it needs less energy to function so its basic metabolic rate decreases. However, most people continue to eat the same number of calories as they did at the start. Whereas this might have led to a calorie deficit at the beginning, it may result in unknowingly overconsuming calories once you’ve dropped a few pounds. This can lead to a weight loss plateau or even unexpected weight gain.
How long does a weight loss plateau last?
A weight loss plateau can last from weeks to months depending on how you address it. If you do nothing and hope for the best, then it’s likely to last quite a while. Although some people describe it as the weight loss plateau myth, it’s a real phenomenon that affects many people. However, it can be overcome by adapting your approach to losing weight. This might mean tweaking your nutrition or overhauling your exercise regime to kick-start the next stage of weight loss. But it’s relatively easy to do once you know how.
9 simple ways to break through a weight loss plateau
So, what’s the best way to achieve post-plateau weight loss? Here are some practical tips you can use to reboot your approach:
1 – Recalculate your calorie needs
The first thing you should do is recalculate your calorie needs based on your new weight. This is likely to be less than previously needed so you can adjust your diet accordingly. If you’re unsure how to work out your calorie requirements then check out this article.
2 – Switch up your workouts
Switching up your workouts can challenge your body in new ways and force it to adapt even further. This could involve increasing the intensity or duration so that you’re pushing yourself harder and expending more calories. Or trying different workout styles such as HIIT or functional sessions.
3 – Ditch the processed carbs
Cutting down on processed carbohydrates temporarily can help to kick-start weight loss again. It’ll reduce your calorie intake and help to avoid bloating too. This will also mean that you’re naturally inclined to eat more natural carbs like fruit and vegetables, as well as protein and healthy fats.
4 – Increase your caffeine intake
Caffeine has been shown to increase fat burning, so increasing your intake can help to overcome a weight loss plateau. Drinking more black tea, green tea, or coffee can give you a caffeine boost that’ll rev up your metabolism. Just be sure to avoid adding milk or sugar so that you’re not consuming additional calories.
5 – Try a fat-burning supplement
A fat-burning supplement like PhenQ can break you out of your plateau and get you back on track. Its thermogenic properties mean you burn more calories and use fat stores as fuel. PhenQ also suppresses fat production as well as your appetite so you crave less food. Plus, it contains caffeine to give you a further fat-burning boost and enhanced energy levels.
6 – Focus on sleep quality
Lack of sleep can affect hormone production and limit your weight loss. Hormones that control hunger, fullness after meals and fat storage can all be negatively impacted if you don’t get 7-10 hours a night. So, make sleep quality a priority by limiting screen time before bed and having a regular nighttime routine.
7 – Quit alcohol
If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau but are still drinking alcohol, then it’s time to think about stopping. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and can sabotage your efforts, even if you’re doing everything else right. Depending on how much you drink, swapping alcoholic beverages for sparkling water can dramatically cut your calorie intake.
8 – Eat more protein
Your body can’t store excess protein, so if you eat more than you need, it’ll be excreted in urine. This means that increasing your protein intake can help you to feel fuller but won’t lead to weight gain. So, swapping some of your carbs or fat for protein can be enough to reignite weight loss.
9 – Stop drinking calories
Many people don’t realize how many calories they drink. Whether it’s in sodas or fruit juice, they can quickly stack up and contribute to a weight loss plateau. Go for water instead and save your calories for foods that’ll make you feel fuller and more satisfied.
Switch it up and start losing again
These practical tips will help you to break through a weight loss plateau and get back on track. They’ll address the root cause by challenging your body in new ways and rebalancing your calorie intake and expenditure. If you’d like a little help to kick-start the results, then try PhenQ. It’ll boost your body’s fat-burning capabilities so that you can continue to lose weight and achieve your goals. You can learn more about its effects here.
How do you deal with weight loss plateaus? We’d love to hear about your methods in the comments below.